The Biden administration is sending a team of senior officials to the Middle East to address allies’ concerns over talks that are ongoing in Vienna aimed at reviving the Iran nuclear deal.
The delegation will consist of National Security Council and State Department officials. The team will be led by Brett McGurk, the NSC’s Middle East policy coordinator, who resigned from the Trump administration over President Trump’s decision to withdraw from Syria, which was ultimately reversed.
According to a Bloomberg report, the delegation is expected to visit Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt, and Jordan. The UAE visit could involve talks over the Biden administration’s decision to push through a massive $23 billion weapons package to Abu Dhabi that was first put forward by Trump as a reward for normalizing with Israel. The arms deal includes F-35 fighter jets, drones, and missiles.
On Tuesday, Iran met with delegates in Vienna representing the remaining JCPOA participants; China, Russia, the UK, France, and Germany. After the meeting, Iran’s Foreign Ministry said the participants “decided to speed up the process of talks.”
The US is complicating the process because it does not want to lift all Trump-era sanctions on Iran, so the two countries have to negotiate indirectly what measures will be lifts. Most US allies in the Middle East are opposed to a revival of the JCPOA, and the Biden administration officials are going to try to smooth things over when they visit the region.